Upgrading An Old Super Scope


[Brian Knoll] still uses his Super Nintendo with relative frequency, and he just can’t get enough Super Scope action. If you never owned one, the Super Scope can be a ton of fun, but it’s also an incredible battery hog. It eats through AA batteries by the caseful, so [Brian] wanted to make the switch to rechargeable cells. Since NIMH AA batteries just don’t cut it in the Super Scope, he put together a rechargeable solution of his own.

He started off by calculating what sort of battery he would need for 8 hours of game play, then he started work on designing his circuit. The board he built contains both a DC/DC converter to provide the 9V required by the Super Scope, as well as built-in LiPo charger. He had his board made by BatchPCB, and after working through a small production error, he put everything together and gave his revamped scope a shot.

Things worked great, and while he says that he really should have built a low-voltage shutoff into his circuit, he is very happy with the results.

14 thoughts on “Upgrading An Old Super Scope

  1. Is it just me or does it sound like a standard 9v battery would have fixed the problem? Definitely a great solution i just feel like an off the shelf 9v could have supplied plenty of mA and the required 9v input voltage.

    1. it sounds like a standard off the shelf 9v battery would have worked, but I have the feeling that 6 standard off the shelf AA batteries in series would be able to produce the needed 9v for a longer amount of time.

      That is one thing I wish standard consumer batteries came with: their Ah ratings printed right on the label. I’ve only seen it on lead-acid batteries and the more proprietary rechargeable batteries for portable devices.

      1. 9V are the worst battery to use. They are 6 AAAAs in series. Series means that the total Ah rating is that of the individual cells. So the 9v has like 600mAh. I think AAs have like 2900mAh on the higher end. So a 9v would last 1/5 as long as AAs. a lipo was definitely the way to go.

  2. Why not just go with an extra NiMH battery or so. I’m assuming he tested with 6 NiMH, which would give a nominal 7.2V. If he tried for 7 it’d bring him much closer at 8.4V.

  3. If LiPo isn’t your thing, the use of NiMH batteries can be improved by using 7 or 8 cells (1.2V/cell) instead of the original 6… and I doubt 9.6V is going to hurt a circuit designed for 9V. Don’t quote me on that though.

    8x 500mAH N cells would easily fit in the original battery holder. Put 5 in one side (they are almost exactly 3/5 the length of a AA), 3 in the other, and make a conductive plug to fill the rest of the space. Or 4 in each, and two smaller plugs. or permanently move the contacts so no spacer is necessary.


    LiPo is definitely the superior choice though…

  4. I can’t find a schematic, but I have a feeling the only reason the Super Scope needs 9V is to accommodate the voltage drop of a good old inefficient 7805 regulator. A simple redesign could save lots of power.

  5. Ah, I love the Super Scope. Pretty much no games were released for it, it ate batteries like there was no tomorrow, and was unwieldy to the extent of being unusable, but you were playing games with a bloody BAZOOKA!
    Back in the days of yore, my dad – being sick of constantly recharging batteries – modified mine to work with an external DC adapter.

  6. Doesn’t the Super Scope read the screen from the position of the electron beam in a CRT? Wonder if he’ll be upgrading that part of the Scope next so it works with modern monitors.

    1. That would be way more trouble than it’s worth to do, it would involve gutting it and replacing the insides with something else and even then getting the timings to the video right would be a bitch.

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